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TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis - Basic Lab Protocols and Techniques

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Old 10-26-2007, 07:27 AM
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Question TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis



Hello all, this forum is great!!

I have an interesting question. What is the best for gel electrophoresis?

TBE buffer or TAE buffer?

Does it depend on the type of electrophoresis ie DNA vs RNA vs Protein?

Also what about the size of the DNA/RNA/Protein?

Are there any major differences between TBE buffer and TAE buffer for agarose gel electrophoresis?

What about 0.5x TBE and 1.0x TBE effect on the results?

thanks again
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Old 10-26-2007, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

No big difference in performance between these two buffers.
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

using TBE or TAE depends on the kind of your protien and DNA also the concentration depends on that
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

1xTBE has more Tris (slightly more than 2 times the amount) per liter than 1xTAE. Thus, it has much better buffering capacity and is recommended for electrophoresis that has high current or very long electrophoresis times. Many people use 0.5x TBE because that is more or less equivalent to the buffering capacity of 1xTAE. 1xTAE has the advantage of being cheaper to use than 1xTBE, and it works fine for short, low current electrophoresis (most DNA applications). The DNA also runs faster in a TAE gel, so it saves time.
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

Hello all,
Great replies from everyone. I looked into this a bit. It depends as mentioned by others what you are running.

An article here mentions that TBE is better for smaller DNA (<300-bp on 2% agarose gel) migrated faster and thus yield better results:
TBE, or not TBE; that is the question: Beneficial usage of tris-borate for obtaining a higher resolution of small DNA fragments by agarose gel electrophoresis
[Only registered users see links. ]

Only thing is most people I know are running DNA larger than 200 bp, so TAE is more often used as larger DNA Fragments such as plasmids are separated.

For proteins etc, usually other buffers are used such as running buffers.

If anyone else has more information that would be great to learn.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:27 AM
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Default Re: TBE vs TAE for Gel Electrophoresis

First off, TBE and TAE buffers are primarily used for agarose gels, and agarose gels are only really useful for DNA electrophoresis. For electrophoresis of proteins or small DNA/RNA fragments (< 100-200bp) then polyacrylamide (PAGE) is preferred.

As for the difference in the buffers for agarose gels, I primarily use TBE for most analytical purposes. The borate seems to make the gels more rigid which helps when you are handling them. For the same reason, you can also run TBE gels at higher voltages without them melting, so you can get your results faster. The only time I will not use a TBE gel is when I want to do an in gel ligation where the TBE will inhibit the ligase enzyme.
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